Iran, Britain envoys speak by phone
TEHRAN - Agence France-PresseBritain's envoy to Tehran has spoken with his Iranian counterpart about exchanging diplomatic delegations and upgrading ties, Iran's ISNA news agency reported Tuesday.
The phone call between British charge d'affaires Ajay Sharma and Iran's Hassan Habibollah-zadeh comes amid a thaw in relations following the election this year of Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, a reputed moderate who has reached out to the West.
"Both sides discussed the first steps for activating bilateral relations," ISNA said, adding that they "agreed on exchanging delegations soon to examine the situation of each other's possessions and diplomatic buildings, as well as holding more talks." Britain ordered the closure of Iran's embassy in London after shuttering its own in Tehran following the storming of the compound by hundreds of Islamist students in November 2011.
The students -- protesting against Western sanctions over Tehran's disputed nuclear programme -- ransacked the building as well as the British ambassador's residence in north Tehran.
The two countries named the non-resident charges d'affaires -- a diplomatic post that is one level below ambassador -- earlier this month.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the decision to name envoys was made after he met his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on the sidelines of Geneva talks on Tehran's controversial nuclear programme.